Judgment against truck driver facing 20 counts of murder

Sibusiso Siyaya.

Sibusiso Siyaya.

Published May 14, 2024


Durban — The High Court, sitting at the Pongola Magistrate’s Court will hand down judgment on Tuesday, to the truck driver charged with 20 murders stemming from a crash in Pongola in 2022.

Sibusiso Siyaya, 28, is also charged with reckless and negligent driving, and failure to perform the duties of a driver after an accident.

It is alleged that on September 16, 2022, Siyaya collected 34 tons of coal in Mpumalanga to be transported to KZN, driving an Oaf mechanical horse and two side tipper trailers.

En route, he experienced a mechanical issue with his rear trailer brake which he attended to in Piet Retief. He proceeded on the N2 towards Richards Bay via the ltshelejuba Pass. Before descending the pass, the accused ignored a mandatory stop for heavy motor vehicles where he was obliged to stop and engage a low gear prior to continuing with descending the pass.

The accused who has been in custody since his arrest in September, 2022, is alleged by the State to have driven recklessly down the pass and overtook several vehicles over the double barrier centre median and on to the oncoming lane.

He allegedly continued to accelerate and overtake more vehicles causing oncoming vehicles to take evasive action to avoid a collision with his vehicle.

The deceased, 18 pupils, a driver, and a teacher, were all travelling in a Toyota light delivery vehicle (LDV) in the oncoming lane with unlicensed Lethukuthula Sphephelo Nkonyane, 19, at the wheel.

Siyaya’s vehicle and the LDV collided head-on. All 20 occupants of the LDV were fatally injured.

Those who died included children from the Ntshangase household Minenhle Anginavalo, 7, Nothando Ningabesabi, 8, and Thembelihle Prince, 11, two children from the Simelane household – 5-year-old Thingo and 6-year-old Nkululeko – as well as 10-year-old Alwande.

Two more children, from the Nkonyane household, Sgcino Philasande, 6, and 14-year-old Mduduzi Nkonyane, were also killed.

The other children who died were Bandile Snenhlanhla Nyawo, 11, Asanda Paris Mhlongo, 14, Lwandle Mpilonhle Nkonde, 6, Kusekuhle Lizongathi Goba, 5, Junior Amile Thikazi, 6, Siyanda Nkosinathi Mlangeni, 13, and Mpilenhle Obenathi Makhangeza, 7.

The children were on their way home from school. Their teacher Zinhle Florence Mkhize, 28, also died.

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